Otaku goodness and AKB48 shock!

First off, a big shout out to my extended Otaku “family”, Otaku Fuel. I received the excellent products to review in 6 days from the States, 6 days?!? Must have been sent on the new NBN (National Broadband Network). Then again…maybe not 🙂 Anyways, pics of the goodness as well as the ever important reviews will be forthcoming very soon 🙂 But in other news important to me today I found out that my favourite J-Pop girl group, AKB48 actually had a new member that wasn’t real! So what I mean is that they composited different features from other members to make one new member that existed only in a computer (probably Windoze) 😦 Vid below of how this was accomplished, the end result was actually very subtle and very well done. Under the vid, there’s a link to where you can make your own pop star…and don’t tell me the song in the background isn’t catchy as all hell!!

 

Link to make your own pop star!
http://www.icenomi.com/oshimen/index.html 

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Review: AKB48: Kamikyokutachi

AKB48 Kamikyokutachi cd supplied by Otaku Fuel

akb48

In Japan there is J-pop and then there is J-pop! And one of the biggest groups to exist in Japan is AKB48. This is a girl group made up of 48, yes, 48 members in three teams, Team A, K and B. They have a great presence in Akihabara in the Don Quixote building in downtown Chuo Dori where they do regular concerts and signings. Formed in 2005 by super producer, Yasushi Akimoto and releasing their first single in 2006, AKB48 have steadily and consistently been building their fanbase around the world by the thousands as well as currently holding the world record for most members in one group! They have already released over 10 albums ranging from studio to stage albums with each one selling extremely well and charting with great success on the Japanese Oricon music charts.

One of these albums is Kamikyokutachi, which translates loosely as Goddess Tracks, is a compilation of their greatest hits previously released on other albums as well as two previously unreleased singles. There are some absolute corkers in here with tunes that will have you tapping your foot and nodding your head to the beat. Now keep in mind that J-pop, just like anime, isn’t for everyone but if you’re a J-pop Otaku, then you simply must have some AKB48 in your collection and this cd is a great place to start.

AKB48From my personal collection, Harajuku March 2010

Dripping in sugary sweetness, the high pitched voices are immediately infectious and catchy and will make anyone an instant fan eager to keep track after track coming. I dare anyone to skip past any of the tracks on this album as they are all massive chart toppers in their own right. Particularly worth mentioning are “River”, “Kimi no Koto ga Suki Dakara”, “Baby! Baby! Baby! Baby!”, “10nen Zakura” and Iiwake Maybe. But to be completely honest, on my very first listen through, I didn’t feel the need to skip any tracks and loved them all but I do like my J-pop very sweet and not so mature. I’ve included a You Tube clip of “River” just below just to give you an idea of what to expect. This cd, as most Japanese releases, also comes with a DVD disc which has three of their songs performed in a studio with multiple camera angles on offer which offers more than one viewing just to make sure you can appreciate all of their dance steps.This album also went to the top of the Oricon charts so you’re in great company by buying this and adding it to your music library.

Will AKB48 be for everyone? Maybe not but give the clip below a go and if you like it, maybe give their You Tube channel a look so you know what to expect and then when you’re ready head straight to Otaku Fuel and snap up this slice of J-pop goodness that will remind you why one of the things that Japan is known for, is their quirky and infectious anime sounding tunes.

My J-Pop interests

I have a fairly eclectic taste in music ranging from Rnb, modern classical, hard trance and now J-Pop. I discovered J-Pop about 2 years ago  through pop starlet, Ayumi Hamasaki. The below short description from Wikipedia:

Ayumi Hamasaki (?? ??? Hamasaki Ayumi, also ?? ?; born October 2, 1978) is a Japanese singer-songwriter and former actress. Also called Ayu by her fans, Hamasaki has been dubbed the “Empress of Pop” because of her popularity and widespread influence in Japan and throughout Asia. Born and raised in Fukuoka, she moved to Tokyo at fourteen to pursue a career in entertainment. In 1998, under the tutelage of Avex CEO Max Matsuura, she released a string of modestly selling singles that concluded with her 1999 debut album A Song for ××. The album debuted atop the Oricon charts and stayed there for four weeks, establishing her popularity in Japan.

Her music, like the rest of J-Pop isn’t to everyone’s satisfaction but one thing it is, is definitely catchy and infectious! I’d love to see her in concert one day as the various videos I’ve seen make it look like quite an experience!! I’ve included a vid below of one of her biggest hits, Fairyland, which was shot somewhere gorgeous. Great song with cool dancing!

Here you’ll see a brief interview with Ayumi Hamaskai as well.

In some future posts I’ll add some clips from the various J-Pop artists that I’ve found along the way from Koda Kumi to AKB48 🙂

The J-Pop Preview Mix is up! Download today!!

Ok, so the mix has finished uploading onto the Mediafire server and can now be downloaded for your enjoyment, listening pleasure and general critique. Keep in mind that this is just a prototype mix as I’ve never tried mixing with J-Pop and as outlined in an earlier post will pose its own challenges. I’m open to suggestions on songs that should be included, in fact, I implore feedback on this matter please!!! Without further ado…I present the J-Pop Preview Mix Japandaman Style 🙂 To download the mix, right click on the link and choose Save Link As or whatever the option is in other browsers if you’re not using FireFox (which you should be anyways).